The EIS has raised serious concerns regarding the potential removal of college lecturers from the delivery of vocational education in parts of Scotland.
Cost-cutting plans emerging from Forth Valley College would result in the redundancy of over 30 lecturing jobs in the central belt whilst the college is set to introduce instructor-assessor roles.
The FELA Executive Committee has expressed its concern about these plans and the impact on the educational provision for students at the college.
Under the proposals, lecturers who currently provide a valuable service in the delivery of vocational education, such as hairdressing, care, construction and practical engineering, face the prospect of losing their jobs.
Pam Currie, EIS-FELA President, stated, "These lecturers are skilled not only in their own trades but as professionals who are trained in the planning, delivery and assessment of education to a diverse student population."
"These plans represent an attack not only on the teaching staff at Forth Valley College but on the quality of the educational provision for learners in the Falkirk and Clackmannanshire communities."
She continued, "The stated remit of instructor-assessor is almost indistinguishable from that of a lecturer but these new posts will be paid well below the standard rate and will be exempt from requirements to undertake a teaching qualification within two years of starting in post. Crucially, there will be no requirement for postholders to comply with the Professional Standards in place for college lecturers."
"With increased levels of class contact time, there will be little or no time in the working week for preparation, marking and the array of quality assurance and professional development tasks that lecturers undertake. This will have a disastrous impact on the learning experience and the provision of vocational and skills-based education."
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "This is a distressing time for all staff affected by these proposals. Staff want to know that their jobs are secure and that they can continue to deliver a high-quality education to their students – whether vocational or academic."
"Further Education lecturers play a vital role in preparing students for the world of work and in ensuring that the skills taught meet industry requirements. If these proposals are implemented, we could see vocational education being de-skilled with the role of lecturers being removed. This can only damage the quality of educational standards across Scotland's colleges and may lead to employers considering whether to take their business elsewhere."
The EIS will work to ensure that members' rights are protected and the high-quality learning experience for all students maintained. It will continue to engage in negotiations with Forth Valley College and would urge it to re-consider these damaging proposals."